Being a Rangers fan in the “oughts” was never easy. Several last place finishes, a couple surprisingly good seasons that finished without postseason play, and a whole lot of losing. 2010 brought along a new theme for the Texas Rangers organization: winning. Not only winning, but the franchise’s first ever postseason series win and eventual first ever appearance in the World Series. One of the key members of that memorable 2010 Rangers team got some great news on Monday: Vladimir Guerrero is headed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thank you Baseball. pic.twitter.com/u6sUvlgiNu
— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) January 24, 2018
The 2018 class was released on Monday and will feature longtime Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, slugger Jim Thome and his 612 career home runs (8th most all-time), closer Trevor Hoffman (second all-time in career saves) and Guerrero. This marks just the fourth time that four players have been inducted in one year (1947, 1955 and 2015 were the other occurrences).
Over the course of 16 Major League seasons with the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Angels, Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, the Dominican Republic native had a career average of .318, 449 home runs, was a nine-time All-Star and was awarded the 2004 American League Most Valuable Player award.
When it was announced that the Rangers would be signing Guerrero for the 2010 season, I wasn’t quite ready to just forget all of the pain he had caused me while playing with the Angels. In 108 career games against Texas, Vlad hit an outlandish .395 with an OPS of 1.122. The Angels won five American League West titles in Guerrero’s six seasons there and the Rangers always seemed to be dominated by the Halos.
That all that changed pretty quickly once he started driving in runs in a Rangers jersey instead. In 2010, Guerrero hit .315 and had 29 homers and 115 RBI at the age of 35. In 19 games that season against his former team and Texas’ division rival, Guerrero added five home runs and 17 RBI. The Rangers boasted a loaded lineup up and down the order, but with 2010 American League MVP Josh Hamilton hitting third and Guerrero cleaning up behind him, it’s no wonder the team was able to march their way to their first division title and playoff appearance in over ten years.
Even though he didn’t exactly dominate throughout the team’s postseason run that fall, he delivered what turned out to be the knockout blow to the mighty New York Yankees in game six of the American League Championship Series.
2010 and 2011, while unable to boast a World Series championship, are incredible seasons in Texas Rangers/DFW sports history. I wasn’t sports conscious during the Dallas Cowboys’ mighty run to three Super Bowls in four years in the 1990’s, but I’m willing to bet the Rangers playoff runs in 2010 and 2011 stack up pretty nicely next to them when it comes to getting the entire area on board and excited. You could not take five steps without seeing a “Claw and Antlers” shirt in 2010 and the area really took to supporting this team.
Guerrero was not only a Hall of Fame player, but seemingly a Hall of Fame personality as well. His huge grin always disarmed opposing fans even though he was destroying whatever pitcher was on the mound for their team that night. His odd preference of always batting without batting gloves always stood out when he was in the batter’s box. His knack to swing at anything wasn’t even necessarily a bad thing as he was capable of hitting balls that were in the dirt like shown below.
While only here for one season, Vladimir Guerrero appeared in the only World Series of his now Hall of Fame career while with the Texas Rangers. He’ll always be remembered for his major contributions that season and when he heads to Cooperstown this summer, one can only hope his time with the Rangers gets the attention it deserves. After Ivan Rodriguez being inducted last summer, major congratulations to Vladimir Guerrero as he will become a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.
Statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
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